National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, has said the endorsement of former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, as Senate president of the 10th National Assembly by the party’s leadership does not translate to automatic victory for his aspiration.
He stated this when Akpabio led a delegation of 40 senators-elect on a visit to the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, yesterday.
The APC had last week named Akpabio (South-South), Jibrin Barau (North West), Tajudeen Abass (North West), and Benjamin Kalu (South East) as its preferred candidates for the positions of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, and Deputy Speaker respectively.
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Adamu said the micro-zoning of positions by the national leadership of the party was not cast in stone and that the party was still consulting with relevant stakeholders on the issue.
He, however, warned Akpabio not be late on the election day because regardless of whoever the party had anointed, it was the senators that would take the final decision of who leads them.
“We need to deepen consultations to carry along many… and we will not relent to ensure that if it were possible for all senators-elect to agree, whatever we do, whatsoever signatures we collect, the final decision will be on the floor of the Senate and also the House. All these efforts are very good and important, but we are in a democracy, and people are bound to have opinions and we have no right to stop them.”
Adamu said though ongoing consultations have been fruitful, the party has to wait till June 13 to see what happens on the floor of the Senate when members vote.
“I want us to have a rancour-free election on the floor because even if everybody says it is Akpabio or Y or X, the rule of the game says there must be election. Those who are in the Senate are aware of the rules. On the day of the proclamation by the president and the clerk makes the proclamation, I do hope and pray that we will carry the day and be victorious. But let me warn, don’t be late. I hope I am communicating. Don’t be late; once bitten, twice shy,” he said.
Akpabio commended the party’s leadership for zoning the Senate president to the South-South. He, however, urged the South East to concede to the South-South, having held the position from 1999 to 2007, as well as producing the deputy senate president in Ike Ekweremadu for 12 years.
The former Akwa Ibom governor said the South-South last had a senate president in 1979, about 44 years ago, when Joseph Wayas of the NPN was elected, and that the North Central also held the position for 12 years with David Mark and Bukola Saraki.
He said since the President is from the South and vice from the North, it was proper for the Senate president to be zoned to the South, and that because the South West already has the president and the South East having previously occupied the office since the return to democratic rule in 1999, it was fair that the other zones back the South-South.
He said his candidature already enjoyed tremendous support from lawmakers-elect, both within the APC and the other parties.
“And we are poised to bring change, and we still have serving governors, Dave Umahi and Governor Bello and we are 70 in all and growing. I want to appeal through you that you talk to some members of APC who have still not supported the party’s decision. When I was young I was told about three Gs to fear. One is God, then the gun and the government. Both the Bible and the Koran asked us to respect leadership because that is the only way to progress. We urge you to talk to them because that’s the only way to have progress.”